Gluten-Free Holiday Chex Mix

1Makes 8 cups

I’ve added my own little twist to the old time favorite Chex Mix around the holidays.  This party mix can even be enjoyed by your guests with dietary restrictions or gluten free preferences.  It’s a modified recipe from the original Chex Mix.  I nix the Wheat Chex, use gluten free pretzels, and also add my own little twist.  Your guests will be coming back for more so you might want to make two batches!

Ingredients

3 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion power
2 teaspoon lemon juice
4 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 cup pretzels (gluten-free versions available from Snyder’s or Snack Factory)
1 cup fancy mixed nuts
3 cups Corn Chex cereal
3 cups Rice Chex cereal

Instructions

1. Melt butter in a 13X9 in baking dish in a 250 degree oven.
2. Remove dish from oven and stir in the seasoned salt, garlic powder, onion powder, lemon juice and Worcestershire sauce.
3.  Add cereals, pretzels and nuts and stir until coated.
4.  Bake @ 250 degrees for 45 minutes stirring every 15 minutes or so.
5.  Remove from the oven and cool (if you can keep your family from nibbling)
6.  Store in an airtight jar or large ziplock bag.

Low Carb Creamy Tuscan Chicken

IMG_1468Low Carb Creamy Tuscan Chicken

Low Carb Creamy Tuscan Chicken is rich and satisfying with lots of sun-dried tomatoes and spinach.  I love the parmesan cream sauce. It is one of my very favorite low carb meals and it is perfect for the keto diet.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 495 kcal

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut in half horizontally
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Lemon Pepper Seasoning
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/3 cup white wine or chicken broth
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup  sun-dried tomatoes (approximately 1/2 of a 4 oz jar )
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2-3 cups baby spinach
  • 2-3 medium zucchini squash, zoodles (optional)

Instructions

  1. Place olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.

    Season chicken with lemon pepper.

  2. Add chicken to skillet and cook 4 to 5 minutes per side, or until cooked through.

    Remove chicken and set aside.

  3. Add onion to skillet and cook for about 3 minutes to soften.

  4. Add garlic and cook 1 more minute.

  5. Add white wine or chicken broth and cook until reduced just a bit and scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the skillet.

  6. Add heavy cream and bring to a simmer for 1 minute.

    Add Parmesan and stir until melted.

  7. Add sun-dried tomatoes, Italian seasoning, and garlic powder.

    Stir in spinach. Cook and stir until spinach is wilted.

    Season to taste with salt and pepper.

    8.  Optional:  Many italian dishes are served over a bed of pasta.  I like to avoid the carbs and use zoodles instead.  Make the zoodle noodles with either a mandoline or zoodle maker.  Place on a paper towel to remove some of the excess water.  Add 2 T of olive oil to a pan and heat on medium heat.  Add zoodles to pan, and add salt and pepper to taste and stir for about 2 minutes.  Add more slat/pepper to taste and stir again for two minutes or so until just a bit limp.  Place zoodles on a plate and then add the chicken and sauce and serve.

Nutrition Facts
Low Carb Creamy Tuscan Chicken
Amount Per Serving
Calories 495Calories from Fat 324
% Daily Value*
Fat 36g55%
Saturated Fat 17g106%
Cholesterol 164mg55%
Sodium 475mg21%
Potassium 1180mg34%
Carbohydrates 9g3%
Fiber 3g13%
Sugar 6g7%
Protein 33g66%
Vitamin A 3950IU79%
Vitamin C 19.1mg23%
Calcium 248mg25%
Iron 2.8mg

Baked Penne with Tomato Mozzarella & Sausage

My sister, Tomi turned me on to this yummy goodness from chef, Erica De Mane, who specializes in southern Italian cooking. Serve with a simple salad.

Baked Penne with Tomato, Mozzarella & Sausage

Servings: 4-6

Ingredients

  • Olive oil
  • 1 large onion, cut in small dice
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3/4 lb. sweet Italian pork sausage, removed from its casing and crumbled
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup dry red wine
  • 35-oz. can whole plum tomatoes, chopped, with their juice
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh marjoram or oregano (from about 6 large sprigs)
  • 1 cup fresh ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup freshly grated mild pecorino cheese
  • Pinch nutmeg, preferably freshly grated
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 lb. dried penne (or ziti if you prefer)
  • 1/2 lb. mozzarella, preferably fresh, cut in small cubes

Instructions

  • Heat the oven to 425°F. Lightly oil a large, shallow baking dish. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  • In a large skillet or stock pot, heat about 2 Tbs. olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and crumbled sausage and sauté until the sausage starts to brown. Season with salt and pepper. If the sausage gives off a lot of fat, pour off most of it, but leave a little to add flavor to the sauce. Add the red wine and let it boil until it’s almost gone. Add the tomatoes with all of their juices and cook, uncovered, at a lively simmer for about 10 minutes. The sauce will thicken slightly. Add the marjoram or oregano and taste for seasoning.
  • In a large bowl, mix the ricotta, about half of the grated pecorino, the nutmeg, and the parsley. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Meanwhile, cook the ziti until al dente (7-8 minutes max). Drain well and toss it with the ricotta mixture until well coated. Add the sausage and sauce and mix again. Add the mozzarella and toss gently. Pour everything into the baking dish and sprinkle the remaining pecorino on top. Bake uncovered until lightly browned and bubbling, about 20 minutes. Serve right away.
  • Nutritional Info (based on four servings)
  • Calories (kcal) : 1070
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 390
  • Fat (g): 44
  • Saturated Fat (g): 20
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 5
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 17
  • Cholesterol (mg): 110
  • Sodium (mg): 114
  • Carbohydrates (g): 113
  • Fiber (g): 8
  • Protein (g): 54

Blueberry Peach and Goat Cheese Tarts

Blueberry Peach and Goat Cheese Tarts

  • Servings: 4-6

Tender crust enveloping juicy colorful fruit, a few dots of cheese, and not much else. Makes four or six depending on size.  Feel free to change out the fruit if you like.  I especially like the combination of these summertime fruits.

Dough

You can make your own crust but I love the convenience of using frozen pie crust (Trader Joe’s is my favorite).  It comes in a package of two.   I  make 4-6 tarts with one crust.

 

The Rest

4 tbsp ground almonds (I love almonds but if you don’t – or have an allergy – you can skip. They help absorb the juice of the fruit)
2 cups fresh blueberries
1 ripe peach OR nectarine (white or yellow is fine)
2 tbsp raw sugar, divided use
3-4 oz. goat cheese, crumbled
1 tbsp lemon thyme leaves – optional
1 egg yolk, whisked

Instructions

  1. Thaw the frozen dough according to package instructions.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Slice the peach or nectarine into 12 slices and set aside. Line two baking trays/jelly roll pans with parchment paper.
  3. Divide dough into 4-6 equal pieces and pat into discs.  Roll out to measure about 5-7 inches each.  They don’t need to be perfect circles.
  4. Dust each with ground almonds, if using.  Divide the berries and peach slices between the dough discs, dot with goat cheese crumbles and thyme leaves (if using).  Try to leave a good margin so that you can pull the edges of the dough up over the form a crumpled frame.
  5. Pull up the edges of the dough but leave most of the fruit showing, and gently pleat.  Rustic and homemade is good!
  6. Brush the dough with egg or milk and sprinkle sugar on the dough and fruit.  place the trays in the oven and bake for 20 minutes or until the pastry is golden.  Cover loosely with foil and bak for about 5 more minutes.
  7. Remove from the oven and cool slightly, and then place on individual dishes for serving.  Feel free to add vanilla ice cream or creme fraiche if you like.

Enjoy!

 

Easy Banana Nut Muffins

IMG_8868Banana Honey-Nut Muffins

Servings: 12 muffins
Prep Time: 20 Minutes
Cook Time: 25 Minutes
Total Time: 55 Minutes

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

FOR THE MUFFINS

  • 1-2/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • large eggs
  • 2 to 3 overripe bananas (mashed)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup Greek yogurt or sour cream (low fat is fine)

INSTRUCTIONS

    1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.
    2. Make the walnut topping: In a small bowl, toss the nuts with the honey and cinnamon until the nuts are evenly coated (the mixture will be sticky). Set aside.
    3. For the Muffins: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
    4. In a large bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter, sugar, and honey until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula if necessary. At medium speed, add the eggs one at a time, beating until fully incorporated between additions. Add the mashed bananas, vanilla, and yogurt (or sour cream) and beat until blended (the batter will look grainy; that’s okay). Add the dry ingredients and mix on low speed until well blended.
    5. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin tin (the cups will be very full) and sprinkle evenly with the nut topping. Bake the muffins until the tops are golden and domed, 25 to 28 minutes. Let the muffins cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then turn them out onto a rack and let cool for at least 10 minutes before serving.

Adapted from Once Upon a Chef’s Jennifer Segal

Freezer-Friendly Instructions: The muffins can be frozen in an airtight container or sealable plastic bag for up to 3 months. Thaw for 3 – 4 hours on the countertop before serving. To reheat, wrap individual muffins in aluminum foil and place in a preheated 350°F oven until warm.

NUTRITION INFORMATION

  • Serving size:1 muffin
  • Calories:302
  • Fat:15 g
  • Saturated fat:6 g
  • Carbohydrates:38 g
  • Sugar:21 g
  • Fiber:2 g
  • Protein:5 g
  • Sodium:216 mg
  • Cholesterol:52 mg

 

Pesto Chicken Lasagna with Zoodles

1Pesto Chicken Lasagna with Zoodles

Ingredients

2  5-6 oz. tubs of Fresh Pesto (refrigerator section of most markets)
3 oz. Alfredo sauce
1 lb. mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 roasted chicken with herbs seasoning (skin removed and shredded)
2 large zucchinis (sliced thin with a mandolin)*
1 large carton of Ricotta cheese
1 carton of baby Portobello mushrooms, sliced
3 T butter
Fresh Parmesan cheese (grated)
1/4 cup Pine nuts or slivered almonds

Instructions

1. Thinly slice the zucchini with a mandolin and lightly salt the “zoodles”.  This will draw some of the moisture out of them and prevent the dish from getting soupy after cooking.

2. Shred or cut up chicken into bite size pieces. Set aside.

3. Sauté mushrooms in butter just until they start to shrink. Set aside.

4. Mix the pesto sauce with the alfredo sauce

5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees

6. Layer ingredients in an 11X17 baking dish. Start with thin layer of pesto then zoodles.

Example:

pesto,
Zoodles (or traditional lasagna pasta noodles if you prefer)
ricotta (1/8 – 1/4 inch thick),
bite size chicken pieces,
mushrooms,
drizzle with pesto mixed with the Alfredo),
mozzarella.

IMG_8840IMG_8842

7. Repeat layering 3-4 times depending on how thick the baking pan is.

8. Make the last layer on top the pesto sauce with grated Parmesan cheese and then sprinkle with either pine nuts or slivered almonds.

IMG_8845

9. Cook in 350-degree oven for 25-30 minutes until bubbly.

IMG_8853Yummy yummy and healthy too!

*You can substitute no-boil lasgana pasta noodles instead of zoodles if you aren’t counting carbs or prefer a more traditional lasagna dish. If so, cook for 50-60 minutes instead.

 

Best Key Lime Pie Ever

Sharing this one again, because it’s just that good!  My mouth is already watering.

IMG_2735

SheShe’s Key Lime Pie

This creamy dreamy pie is a favorite in our family.   We always look forward to Aunt SheShe treating us to this delightful and refreshing goodness.  The tartness from the key limes and the sweetness of the crust makes a perfect combination.  It just might become a family favorite for you too!

Makes one 9-inch pie serving 6 to 8

Crust:

1 ½  cups graham cracker crumbs
3  tablespoons sugar
¼  teaspoon salt
6   tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted

Filling:

1  14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
2/3  cup fresh squeezed Key juice or regular lime juice. (If using bottled, look for Nellie & Joe’s brand—(Ralph’s carries it.)
3    large egg yolks
1 ½   teaspoons grated lime zest (about 2 limes)
2    tablespoons sugar
¼   teaspoon salt

Topping:

1  cup chilled whipping cream (in a small carton from Trader Joe’s)
2   tablespoons powdered sugar
1   teaspoon vanilla extract
2   Key limes for garnish, sliced thinly (optional)

For crust: Preheat oven to 350. Mix graham cracker crumbs, sugar and salt in medium bowl to blend. Add melted butter and stir to coat well. Press crust into 9-inch glass pie dish. Bake 5 to 8 minutes until crust is set and golden brown. Cool.

For filling: In stand mixer fitted with wire whisk or using a hand-held mixer, beat egg yolks and lime zest for 5 minutes until very fluffy. Add sugar, salt, and condensed milk and beat for 3 or 4 minutes more. Lower mixer speed and gradually add lime juice and beat just until combined. Pour mixture into cooled crust. Bake 10-15 minutes (varies by oven), or until filling is set in center. Refrigerate uncovered until cold, then cover and chill at least 6 hours or overnight.

For topping: Using electric mixer, beat all ingredients in large bowl until soft peaks form. Spread over pie and garnish with Key lime slices, if desired. (Can be refrigerated several hours ahead, or even overnight.)

Creds to Cynthia Worth  who originally adapted the recipe from Bon Appetit 1/07 and Food Network and shared with Aunt SheShe (aka Sheila Downs).

IMG_2737